Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Justin Trudeau and the Great Pipeline War

The next time Justin Trudeau visits Vancouver he'll have to keep a low profile, or wear plenty of camouflage paint.

Because the Great Pipeline War has finally begun in earnest. 

But although the protests will be loud, and you can count me among those who believe that no new pipelines should be built.

As T.S. Elliot wrote in his poem The Hollow Men: "Between the idea and the reality... between the motion and the response...falls the shadow."

So I wouldn't be surprised if Justin wins the Great Pipeline War for the following reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, the Trans Mountain pipeline will almost certainly never be built. 

There will be protests, there will be litigation, the case will be tied up in the courts for years, even as the threat of climate change grows, and the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuels.

The price of oil which is set to sink even lower as Donald Trump opens the taps in the U.S. will probably make the project uneconomical. And the 157 conditions imposed on Kinder Morgan may make the company decide it's just not worth the aggravation.

And I'm pretty sure that Trudeau and his adviser Gerald Butts know that.   

But by approving those pipelines, they get to throw a life line to Rachel Notley. 

In making the most contentious decision in the short life of his government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Alberta Premier Rachel Notley the biggest victory in the brief life of hers.

As well as dampening the separatist fires in that tormented province, which had no pipelines been approved could have turned into serious national unity crisis. 

While leaving the Cons sputtering, and the NDP firing on one cylinder, unable to attack Trudeau without attacking Notley.

Thirdly, by coupling the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline with the killing of the Northern Gateway project, and declaring a large part of the BC coast to be tanker-free, the Liberals will be able to appease some aboriginal groups and other Canadians in the rest of the country.

For it will be easier to claim credit for having saved this pristine wilderness...

Than it will be to attack the Liberals for threatening the city of Vancouver...

Where on any given day you can see large ships anchored in English Bay, waiting to enter Burrard Inlet.

Fourthly, the electoral consequences should be minimal. Even in British Columbia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could lose 31 per cent of B.C. voters who supported him in 2015 if he approves the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project, a new poll commissioned by an B.C. NGO opposed to the project shows. 

The poll, conducted by Insights West, found that three out of 10 Liberal voters in B.C. would be less likely to cast a ballot for Trudeau’s party in 2019 if the $6.8 billion pipeline project is approved.

Where even if the Liberals lost all their 17 seats in that province, which is unlikely, they know that they have improved their chances of holding on to many more seats in Ontario and Quebec.

Now that the people who live there must surely know that the Energy East pipeline will now almost certainly NOT be built...

Finally, and this is where T.S. Eliot's shadow falls, I honestly can't see this becoming a big issue, in a country where the will to fight climate change is dubious at best.

Not when so many enjoy our comfortable standard of living, and don't want anything to threaten it. Not when the economy is considered so much more important than the environment.

One in three (34%) say that economic conditions in general are the most important issue facing Canada today.

The environment/climate change is considered the top issue by 8% nationally. Women and those under 45 put a greater emphasis on this issue than men and older people, but the differences are modest. 

And not when so many love their cars... 

That's the Don Valley highway in Toronto on any given day.

Where many drivers are already complaining bitterly about a plan that would have them pay a $2 toll.

And this is Vancouver on any given day...

Which along with Los Angeles shares the dubious honour of being the most congested city in North America.

You know, the day Canadians start walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk, will be the day the real battle to save the planet begins.

But don't let that discourage you Vancouver, for I am on your side.

Justin Trudeau may be poised to win the Great Pipeline War, and easily win the next election.

But the fate of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, is still in your hands...


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Kathleen....well maybe it is, but helping Rachel Notley is the right thing to do. Without her supporting a carbon tax and other projects to make that province greener, our battle against climate change doesn't stand a chance....

  2. Anonymous3:03 PM

    You can't be against pipelines and at the same time congratulating Trudeau on his decision. When you're on the same page as John Ivison, it might be time to step away from the Kool-Aid.

    1. Hi anon...some people can walk and chew gum at the same time. Life is complex even if you can't comprehend that. Sometimes I think that Trudeau is playing chess while people like you are playing checkers or tiddly winks...

  3. John's Aghast5:30 PM

    Spot on! Kinder Morgan will not survive the protests, confrontations and most significantly, the economics of fossil fuel. Green energy will prevail! Long live the king!

    1. hi John's Aghast...It seems obvious to me, the Kinder Morgan project is as dead as the Northern Gateway pipeline. Justin Trudeau did what he did to help Rachel Notley keep a Canada-wide carbon tax alive, while almost certainly knowing that Kinder Morgan will go nowhere...

  4. I don't know how to say this, but if this pipeline is accepted, it can be positive in a sense, because it would counter Quebec's seperatist movement rhetoric claiming that the province is the only one whom there will be a pipeline (although it crosses many other provinces also). But even if I don't want any pipeline, in a sens I would feel like a hypocrite if I oppose Energy East, but did not vote for the Bloc Québécois, who bragged about being the only party standing up straight and ferociously saying 'no' the pipeline. I don't know if there is anything else, but either way, I want to be confident in not being 100% agreed with the liberal party, but if the BC pipeline is built, it proves what I meant about the biased claims from Quebeckers.

    1. hi Myworld...yes you're absolutely right. By making the construction of the Energy East pipeline now almost impossible, Trudeau has managed to disarm the separatists in Quebec as well as those in Alberta. His father would be proud of him...

  5. Anonymous6:44 PM

    You're right to point out the danger to national unity if Alberta feels that the other provinces are ganging up on it. A Canadian Prime Minister first duty is to hold this country together. I don't think the pipeline will be built either, but Trudeau has shown Albertans that he isn't biased against them.

    1. hi anon...I think it was very important to reach out to Alberta at this time. The economic situation is causing a lot of hardship, and it's becoming a breeding ground of right-wing extremism.It's scarcely mentioned in the media, but national unity must have played a big part in Trudeau's decision...

  6. Anonymous9:34 PM

    "Where even if the Liberals lost all their 17 seats in that province, which is unlikely, they know that they have improved their chances of holding on to many more seats in Ontario and Quebec."

    Is that so? Because Ontario is SO impressed with what the Liberals are doing in the province. How's your electricity bills these days? What's Kathleen Wynne's approval rating again? A staggering 14 percent.


    1. hi MC...we're talking about the federal liberals not the Ontario Liberals. They are two different parties and two different situations. And I very much doubt that one will bring down the other...

  7. Anonymous9:35 PM

    The long past death of investigative journalism culminating with whistle blowers branded as traitors leaves it open to interpret government decisions based on facts, half truths and fiction. Here is my take on the Kinder Morgan approval.
    In the distant past, before their extinction and the rise of the JT era, the Harper_Right tribe wandered the globe selling black elixir extracted from the vast seemingly worthless Canadian wilderness. A potential trading partner living in the land of the Golden Dragon saw opportunity and agreed to a trial partnership where they would be given rights to extract the elixir in exchange for providing shiny trinkets to the natives and golden nuggets for their masters. The deal was done with the only caveat that the _Rights had to put the infrastructure in place to allow delivery. From their perspective there was no point in owning elixir that you can only view from a vast distance and end up selling to a third party at a loss. As neither of the partners operated on the principle of mutual trust a trade deal was drafted, passed into law and labeled a government secret so secret that it could not even be classified as a trade secret. Unfortunately before the leader of the clan could implement the deal and spawn its Northern cousins he chocked on his own excrement and was replaced by JT a drama teacher. A sad ending for the _Rights clan but the deal lived on.

    It would seem that the JT tribe decided to honor the original deal but shut down its Northern cousins that were waiting on the sidelines for the "all clear" signal. Not exactly a satisfactory outcome for the Golden Dragon but the original deal was honored which avoided a direct face slap to a rather large dragon. Who knows there maybe some mutually beneficial trading of renewables, technology or other goods in the future. And so ends the Harper_Right era and the tarry fountain of perpetual power and wealth.

    1. hi RT...well that was very poetic. And all I'll add is that the Golden Dragon is considerably less thirsty than it once was for the oily elixir. And at the rate it's turning green, all we'll soon be sending them is hot air. Oil is the curse of this country, as it almost always is in other places. And just as it's helping to destroy the planet, it can still destroy this country. Or blow it apart...

  8. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Its just an oil company scam and a political circle jerk. Kinder Morgan transports heavy crude/light crude/distilate/ gasoline/distilate/light crude/ heavy crude. The Burnaby refinery only refines light crude and the mixtures that result from moving the different products in one pipeline. Transmountain will be a new pipeline that transports dill-bit while the old pipeline will send the solvent back to Alberta. that means all those refinery jobs will be lost and all the gasoline and jet fuel and refined products will have to be imported from Washington by rail or truck. Jobs ,energy security and transport risks my ass.

    1. hi anon...yes we are still the hewers of wood and drawers of water or oil. We're still selling our raw materials for pennies, so that others can make millions. I've been told that we can't build refineries, because we're too few or too poor, which I find hard to believe. And in a rapidly warming world, it all strikes me as insanity...

  9. Anonymous10:20 PM

    That's what gets me too Simon. Protesting pipelines is the easy way out. When you try to talk to them about the meat on their plate and the planet killing factory farm it comes from or the oil and gas you put in your car most aren't interested in giving anything up. Time to walk the talk, so no I won't be out protesting pipelines and my BC vote will still go to Justin. ❤️💜💚 Pamela.

    1. Hi Pamela...I'm afraid you're right. I do try to walk the walk. I use a bicycle or public transportation, even though I absolutely love or loved driving. I think Justin Trudeau is still committed to fighting climate, and for that he needs to have Alberta onside, even if he angers some people in British Columbia. So I won't be abandoning him either...



    ​Mike Palecek, president of the National Union of Postal Workers, criticized the prime minister for speaking about Indigenous reconciliation after being elected last year, and approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline despite opposition from a number of key First Nations along the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route.

    "I have a message for the Prime Minister. With all your talk about reconciliation and justice....All of these promises have just been laid bare tonight, as you announce you're ramming through this pipeline without the consent of the people who have been guarding our air, water and land for 10,000 years. You can either be serious about climate change, or you can expand the tar sands. But you cannot do both."